Gary and Alan Wilber ORIOLE PARK PROFILE Stadium sod suppliers

March 29, 1992

When the team takes the field at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, you'll be watching the team. Gary and Alan Wilber will be watching the field.

They grew it, every square of sod, on their farm in Salisbury.

Gary Wilber, 28, and Alan Wilber, 32, began Oakwood Sod Farm, now the biggest on the lower Eastern Shore, in 1985 on the crop farm their father, Donald, started. In 1989, after the Orioles sent a representative to inspect their business, the Wilbers were selected to grow the sod for the new ballpark.

The sod is a mix of three bluegrass varieties, grown to the Orioles' specifications. Alan Wilber said Midnight was chosen for its dark color ("It looks really green on television"), and Eclipse and Touchdown are important because "they're real aggressive. They recover from damage well."

Fourteen months is the usual growth time for sod, but the Orioles' grass grew for two years. "They wanted it especially strong," Alan Wilber said. Last November, the Wilbers harvested 3.5 acres of the six they planted and loaded the squares onto 14 tractor-trailers for the drive to Camden Yards. Now, the Wilbers have a contract to keep a half-acre of the mix growing for patch work.

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